Chapter 90:

Base of Operation

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

“We managed to move into the auditorium. Barricade was taken down. Fiona has engaged Flora, and they are headed to the staircase. I’m… going to be out of commission for a while….” The sound of Adan’s voice echoed in the cavern where Mamie stood in front of a console.

“Adan… has lost consciousness; Princess Fiona is leading their commander Flora away,” Someone in the counsels in front said. Mamie rubbed her hands through her hair as she looked to her screen. A map of the building and floors were laid out, with dots representing all her forces showing in each location.

“The Nonpareil has just entered the room of their leader; he has visual now,” another shouted from their counsel.

“It is time,” Mamie said quietly under her breath as she turned to Bonfilia. Her daughter was anxiously looking around at everything.

“Mommy, are they getting hurt?” Bonfilia asked with concern in her voice. She had a vague sense that they were going to save the town but didn’t fully understand the scale of the battle.

“Yes, dear. They are fighting just like Daddy did, and they will win.”

“But…” a sudden look of fear appeared on Bonfilia's green face. She made a series of other faces ranging from deep childlike thoughts to sadness before she darted to one of the cavern's tunnels. Mamie quickly leaped up from her counsel and chased after her. She caught up and no time and gently held her daughter in her arms.

"Let me go! Let me go! I have to stop them!" the girl cried out to her mother, who only continued to hold her in place gently. "If I don't stop them, they will die! Just like Daddy!"

"Please stop; there is nothing more that we can do," her mother tried to say as softly as she could, but it still came out as a yell.

"But it's my fault! I asked them to save us!" the girl shouted in response.

Bonfilia did not stop squirming; she had just realized that the odd people she met only hours prior might perish and be forgotten. Adan was already hurt, and she had trouble processing what was happening. Mamie did not let up; she held her daughter closely.

“It’s not your fault; if anything, it is mine,” Mamie said softly.

Bonfilia did not reply; she only struggled and squirmed. She did not stop until some shouts from one of the tunnels echoed into the cavern.

“I heard something this way,” one voice shouted.

“Let’s just get this over with and go do something fun!” the second shouted back.

Two of the bandits had been sent on a reconnaissance mission before the battle above ground had started.

Immediately Mamie looked to the cavern wall behind the consoles. A small force of miners had stayed behind for just such an emergency. Four of the older miners, not including Old Gus, leaned back against the wall with his arms tucked under his long beard. Vidkun was tied and gagged on the ground next to him.

The traitor villager made a smug ‘mph’ to Old Gus at the sound of the approaching bandits. Old Gus shrugged and lifted Vidkun in one hand and his pickaxe in the other.

A duo of bandits came running into the cavern moments later, and they froze as they comprehended the sight before them.

The first of the duo, a Zenotote with bright green scales and beard, like what would be seen on a bearded dragon, charged forward with a sword in his hands. The second, a Netzian with purple skin and long silvery hair, stopped and began to pull out a radio transponder.

Before the Netzian could use the device, Old Gus tossed Vidkun across the room.

“I believe this is yours,” he shouted as he blocked the Zenototes sword with his pickaxe. Vidkun crashed into the Netzian, and the radio device shattered on the ground.

“Useless!” the Netzian shouted as he pushed off Vidkun and drew his sword. The two bandits began to circle the old miner.

“Old Gus, no!” Bonfilia shouted.

The duo of bandits charged at Old Gus, and each swung their swords at him. The Zenotote aimed for his leg, and the Netzian aimed for his head. The old Aqueenian miner smashed his pickaxe into the ground so that the Zenototes sword was blocked and bounced off. The surprised Zenotote stumbled as he became off balance. At the same time, Gus ducked and caught the Netzian by the collar of his shirt. The Netzians arm and sword still hung awkwardly out in the air as he never expected the miner to be so quick.

“I’m gettin too old for this,” Gus spat before decking the Netzian bandit in the face. The bandit fell unconscious and to the ground as Old Gus released him. The old miner shook his hand to shake off the pain from the punch.

The Zenotote began to back up and look around the cavern with a worried expression. The old miners who stayed behind quickly surrounded him, and he was restrained in no time at all.

The two bandits were quickly tied up like Vidkun and tossed against the wall to wait until the battle ended. Old Gus smacked his palms together as if to knock off the dirt and looked to Mamie, who still held Bonfilia in place, though her daughter had given up struggling once the fight had begun.

“We will support you to the end of this fight, Mamie, so make sure ye see to the end of it as well,” he said before leaning back against the wall. Mamie nodded and loosened her grip on her daughter.

“Bonfilia, please go sit quietly with Old Gus. We will win this, I promise.” Mamie said. Bonfilia nodded, not sure what to think of everything. She walked over and sat next to the old miner. Gus smiled and tousled her silky hair.

Mamie sat back at her console and took a deep breath.

“We have just confirmed that the commander Icarus took heavy damage. A trio of Princess Fiona’s entourage, the Hobusian, Zenotote, and Netzian, are engaging him and Savvy in the hallway.”

“Princess Fiona is currently engaged in a one on one with Flora.”

“The Nonpareil is struggling with their leader.”

“Forces on the second floor are in heavy engagement. The first floor looks to be mostly clear.”

A series of updates came from the crowd, Mamie took a moment to collect her thoughts.

“Order the troops on the first floor to help wrap up the ones on the second. Let Princess Fiona’s group handle the commanders until we are sure we’ve cleared all others. Send the status to any of the princess’s group as well,” Mamie said with confidence. She turned back to the monitor and nodded. They would win this or die trying.